California’s agricultural waste collection program will be the first in the nation to be automated and operated remotely from a farm.
The state is in the process of testing the technology, which will allow farmers to collect more than 1 million pounds of food waste each year.
The new automated system is being piloted at three farms in Fresno and Sonoma counties and in the cities of Hayward, Napa and San Rafael.
The system was developed by the California Department of Agriculture’s agricultural management division.
California is the only state in the country to have an automated collection program, according to a news release from the California Agriculture Department.
The state collects more than 75 percent of its food waste from farms, according a recent report by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
California’s agricultural department has set aside $1.1 million for the pilot program, which is part of a $3.1 billion statewide agricultural waste management program, the department said in a statement.
The pilot program is expected to be complete by the end of this year, according the news release.
In California, waste is often collected in trucks, but farmers typically do not take the trucks into the field.
That has left farmers with an option of collecting the food waste at a farm that is far away from the main collection point, the release stated.
To get the system up and running, the agriculture department partnered with the Palo Alto-based company Humboldt Microsystems, which has a $2 billion technology and manufacturing division, the state said.
Humboldts technology is similar to the technology used in food trucks, the California Agricultural Waste Management Agency said in the news order.
“This new technology will allow us to capture more than 100,000 tons of food wastes per day, and we expect it to save farmers more than $1 million per year,” Steve Lichtman, executive director of the agency, said in an email to the Sacramento Bee.
The new system will be operated by Humbolds Mobile Solutions, a subsidiary of Humbolt Mobile, which provides the food truck platform.
The company said it has received funding from the federal Department of Homeland Security to build the system.
The California Agricultural Policy Institute, a nonprofit group that promotes the health and safety of agriculture and its workers, is helping to fund the pilot project, according its news release, which also said the program is being managed by the state Department of Public Health.